Promising Artists Program Enters Sixth Year

February 24, 2006

Students from the State University of New York at Buffalo (SUNY) will be performing a Broadway musical medley tonight in the Eugene O’Neill Theater in Barrio Dent, in the eastern suburb of San Pedro, at 7:30 p.m. The performance kicks off the sixth annual Promising Artists of the 21st Century intercultural exchange hosted by the Costa Rican-North American Cultural Center (CCCN).

The medley created by the SUNY Theater and Dance Department is called “Coming, Staying, Leaving,” and features songs from musicals such as “Thoroughly Modern Millie,” “Annie,” “Kiss of the Spider Woman” and “Evita,” among others, to portray the highs and lows of trying to make dreams come true in New York City.

The Promising Artists program brings students from different universities in the United States to Costa Rica for a cultural exchange. Between February and October, eight different groups of students will participate in the program (see sidebar).

“These are young artists. They could become very famous, they’re so talented,” said Manuel Arce, cultural director of the CCCN. Arce started the program six years ago, and is passionate about the performances and the beneficial effects of this kind of intercultural exchange.

Each group will give two public performances, one at the Eugene O’Neill Theater and another on the west side of San José at HumboldtCollege, in addition to workshops and jam sessions with Costa Rican musicians and arts students. Some will travel outside of San José to reach towns and students that don’t have frequent access to intercultural exchanges.

“The program is an exchange of ideas; it’s not just a concert,” Arce said. “The students come and live with Costa Rican families, and they get exposure to Costa Rican culture.”

“We take the visiting students outside of San José to reach people who don’t have a lot of access to the arts,” he added. “We have given concerts for senior citizens where we go out to senior care centers to do the performance. And we have students here learning English, so the visiting students will sit down with a group and talk. They talk about whatever they want.”

Arce is enthusiastic about the program, saying it offers the opportunity for visiting students to make contact with Costa Rican people and culture, and for Costa Ricans to have access to the ideas the students bring with them.

“The ticket prices are low, so (the events) are accessible to the general public, especially students and seniors,” he said.

Tickets cost ¢3,000 ($6); ¢2,000 ($4) for seniors. To purchase tickets or for more information, call 207-7554 or visit the center’s Web site at www.cccncr.com.

 

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